Internet Security

What Is Breach and Attack Simulation, and do all Businesses Need It?

What Is Breach and Attack Simulation
Written by prodigitalweb

If cybercriminals targeted your infrastructure today, would it be ready for the attack? 

Nowadays, businesses don’t have to wait to get hacked to find out if their cybersecurity works.

They test it in advance with tools such as Breach and Attack Simulation and then use the available data to regularly improve their security.

What should you know about BAS, and what role does it have in the security of unique infrastructures of companies?

How Does BAS Function?

Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) imitates hacking exploits to identify vulnerabilities in the system. Essentially, it validates the security that protects an infrastructure.

This AI-powered tool does so continually to detect any high-risk vulnerabilities early.

Every business has a unique architecture they build as a preventive layer of security.

Cybersecurity teams calibrate the automated technology to test different parts of the infrastructure based on the context of a company.

For instance, BAS can be set to continually target:

  • Endpoint security — for companies that have remote workers
  • Web Firewalls — for companies that rely on web applications
  • Email gateways — to detect signs of phishing, a highly likely threat that victimizes employees within the company

BAS tools are often part of a combined platform that thoroughly test an organization’s security and thus an important piece of a major cybersecurity strategy.

For instance, BAS can be combined with automated red teaming to test the internet-facing assets of the company.

What Is Tested With BAS?

For thorough testing of the attack surface and security posture, people and systems must be tested against well-known and zero-day exploits.

Already known techniques that have been used by hackers since the dawn of the internet are normally on the list. They include things like phishing and DDoS.

Common techniques that are depicted in OWASP’s top ten are also good starting points that BAS can use to determine whether a company is ready to protect itself against common hacking attempts. 

The attack surface is continually changing with the growth of the company, new hacking exploits, upgraded infrastructure, remote teams logging into the system from their homes, and more.

Organizations need a good defense strategy that can keep up with the evolving and dynamic attack surface.

How can security teams test the system against zero-day exploits (hacking methods they can’t anticipate)?

The BAS tool is continually updated with the latest findings from the MITRE ATT&CK Framework.

MITRE works as a library of the latest hacking exploits. The resource describes how they’ve impacted the systems of other companies as well as offers possible solutions to patch up flaws or mitigate attacks.

What Happens After BAS Testing?

BAS is a tool that can run in the background 24/7. While it tests and analyzes the result of the evaluation, it gathers plenty of helpful data for security teams.

Following BAS testing, teams will know whether:

  • Security tools in place are working properly
  • There has already been a breach
  • Infrastructure has a high-risk vulnerability that can be exploited by hackers

Security analysts follow the alerts and forensic reports that indicate severe weaknesses or unauthorized access to the system.

They use the information to either apply patches to remediate flaws in the system and prevent attacks or prevent hacking attempts that are already taking place.

For example, they might find out that the firewall is not working properly, the IT team doesn’t know how to use important tools to prevent attacks, or that employees fall for phishing attacks via email.

The result of testing guides the teams on their next steps and aids them in mitigating critical flaws before hackers get the chance to exploit them.

They can suggest more training for employees to prevent social engineering attacks such as phishing, apply patches that have been provided by vendors, or add more tools that can detect and mitigate emerging threats.

BAS vs. Pen Testing

Most companies test their security with penetration testing — also known as pen testing. Such assessments are based on similar principles as BAS.

Simulated testing is performed in a safe environment, and adversarial techniques are used for the discovery of possible gaps in the system.

For pen testing, companies usually employ white hat cybersecurity experts that thoroughly analyze the security and choose specific parts for testing — the ones that might have a vulnerability.

They simulate the attacks to assess the chosen parts and analyze the result to recommend which parts can be strengthened.

Due to the high cost of hiring white hat hackers, pen testing is done once or twice per year.

Is Breach and Attack Simulation a replacement for pen testing?

Organizations often use both. They combine pen testing that is obligatory (depending on the laws and regulations relevant to them) with the automated BAS tool that is continually running in the background to weed out any critical flaws.

Some advantages of Breach and Attack are that it can detect flaws and incidents as well as aid analysts in mitigating flaws in real time. The attack surface is continually shifting and can leave the infrastructure exposed in minutes, so regular testing is integral.

The lower cost of the automated BAS tool is what prompts many companies to include it in their cybersecurity arsenal as well.

Do You Need the BAS Tool? 

Testing is part of the regular management of the security that includes scanning and monitoring the attack surface, testing its vulnerabilities, detailed analytics, and patching up fatal flaws in the system.

Therefore, it’s suitable for regular cybersecurity hygiene that prevents the vulnerabilities in the system from escalating into incidents such as cyber breaches and data leaks.

Breach and Attack Simulation is suitable for companies that invest in tools that strengthen security posture but aren’t sure if they would prevent hacking.

BAS validates that everything is working properly in real-time — giving the companies peace of mind.

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